Saltwater Fishing Report: Gag grouper bite strong in several spots – The Ledger
By Michael Wilson Ledger correspondent
1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, the average water temp this week has been 68 degrees and the Spanish mackerel bite has been really good in the morning until around noon. There’s been some nice keeper sheepshead caught on live and frozen shrimp down around the pilings. The trout bite at night is good right up until the pier closes for the night. Anglers should note, the pier’s hours are now 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (seven days a week) until the end of February, reports Big Pier 60 Bait and Tackle (727-462- 6466).
2: At Madeira Beach, gag grouper are still biting near shore in water as shallow as 20 feet. “The lane snapper are thick right now near shore. The hogfish bite is also consistent and should only get better as we head towards spring,” reports Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947). A few kingfish are being caught. Commercial fishermen report a great kingfish bite in 80-90 feet offshore. Deeper offshore the amberjack bite is good and will remain so through the cooler months, reports Hubbard.
3: At John’s Pass, there’s lots of whiting and silver trout on the beach around the pass. There’s been a good gag grouper bite under the bridge on the south side of the pass. Lots of sheepshead are being caught around the bridge, the area docks, the jetty, and any structure. A few cobia are around. “We had a 30lb monster caught from the north jetty on a live pinfish this week,” reports Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
4: At Fort DeSoto Park, permit up to 17-18 inches to the fork are being caught in Bunces Pass and there’s lots of pompano being caught around the area as well. Tripletail are being caught on the